Tent: a protocol for an open and distributed social Web

I wrote about our increasingly urgent need for a distributed and open Web last week and I came across a Google+ post linking to Tent which is a protocol designed to help make that happen:

Tent is a protocol for open, decentralized social networking. Tent users share content with apps and each other. Anyone can run a Tent server, or write an app or alternative server implementation that uses the Tent protocol. Users can take their content and relationships with them when they change or move servers. Tent supports extensible data types so developers can create new kinds of interaction.

Tent is for sharing with others and seeing what others have shared with you. You can ask to follow other users and other users can follow you. Because you control your own Tent server, it is also a good place to store things you do not want to share with others, a sort of personal data vault. It can also be used as a secure site login replacement so you don’t need passwords when accessing other sites on the web.

Governments and companies are debating the future of the Web in closed sessions and are talking about regional firewalls and similar efforts to balkanise the Web. As citizens and users, we are often left out of the loop and information about those closed proceedings are deliberately kept from us. Invariably the motivation behind these efforts is to protect content- and IP-based businesses and while it’s important to protect intellectual property and encourage creativity and innovation, these efforts are focused more on protecting established business models at the expense of the open Web.

Tools to build an open Web are increasingly important and urgent for a variety of reasons, whether those reasons include protecting the Web from virtual land grabs or overreaching political bodies and their corporate sponsors. This stuff is important.


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